LEXINGTON, Ky. - Senior Ali Bainbridge collected a hit, and sophomore Stephanie Becker threw four solid innings as the Mississippi State softball team suffered a tough 5-0 setback to No. 23 Kentucky on a cold Sunday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex in Lexington, Ky.
The loss dropped MSU to 15-17 overall and 5-5 in SEC play. Kentucky improved to 22-7 and 8-3 in league play with the three wins on the weekend.
Kentucky struck with a run in the bottom of the first off MSU starter Lindsey Dunlap before touching Misty Flesher for three runs in the bottom of the second. The Wildcats got RBI singles from Kara Dill and Meagan Aull to spark the frame. Dill scored as she stole second and came home when MSU catcher Sam Lenahan's throw sailed into left field, one of three MSU miscues in the game.
Dunlap fell to 0-2 with the loss. The Hueytown, Ala., native retired two batters in the first while allowing an unearned run and walking four.
Flesher tossed 1.1 innings and was touched for three runs and four hits while walking a pair.
"I was really surprised with how cold our bats were today. These past two games are the worst we've looked at the plate this season. We threw away a lot of at-bats, and we need to change that to have success in the SEC," MSU head coach Jay Miller said. "Stephanie Becker did a great job today, but it's frustrating because we don't know which pitcher is going to show up on which day. We need to get more consistency on the mound, but it was a real bright spot with the way she threw today."
The Bulldogs threatened in the fourth as Bainbridge opened the inning with a single. She moved to third when Ka'ili Smith's ground ball deflected off UK first baseman Samantha DeMartine and went into right field. State was unable to capitalize, however, as a pair of ground-outs ended the inning.
Becker, who came to the circle in the third, retired seven of the first eight hitters she faced before DeMartine hit a solo home run to left field to put UK up 5-0. The Aurora, Ill., native went the final four innings and gave up a run and a hit while striking out four.
Ellen Weaver went the distance for UK, allowing a hit and striking out seven as she ran her record to 6-0.
The Bulldogs return home to host five-straight games at the MSU Softball Field. State hosts Alcorn State in a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Tuesday before battling in-state rival Ole Miss in a three-game league series beginning Friday at the MSU Softball Field.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - MSU's women's tennis team (2-10, 0-6 SEC) fell to top ranked Florida (17-1, 6-0 SEC) on Sunday at UF's Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
Beginning on court 2 of doubles action, Florida's duo of Olivia Janowicz and Allie Will took down Mississippi State's pair Mariia Ryzhova and Jordan Zachary, 8-1. Competing at the top spot for MSU was the Alexandra Perper and Olesya Tsigvintseva tandem as they fell to Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather of Florida 8-4.
However, Lady Bulldogs Vivian Pietraroia and Danielle Terpko fought hard in the third position but were eventually outlasted by the Gator twosome of Caroline Hitimana and Sofie Oyen, in a thrilling 8-7(2) tiebreaker.
Turning to singles play, the Gators' Brittany Borsanyi took the match from Zachary on court 6 as Zachary retired after falling in the first set 6-0. Hitimana took down Pietraroia at the No. 5 spot in two sets 6-0, 6-0. 26th ranked Joanna Mather clinched the match for Florida as she took a two-setter from Ryzhova 6-1, 6-0 in the second position while Gators' #45 Alex Cercone took down Terpko on court 3 6-3, 6-2.
At the No. 4 spot, Tsigvintseva battled but eventually fell to 35th ranked Janowicz in a two-set decision 6-3, 6-1. In the top position for MSU was Perper where she fell to Florida's 7th ranked Will 6-2, 6-3.
The Lady Bulldogs will continue their road swing next weekend April 1 and 3 as they travel to Tennessee and Georgia with more SEC action. MSU will return home for Super Bulldog Weekend on April 8 and 10 when they play host to Auburn and Alabama.